I did my first running race as a kid at the Peachtree Jr Road Race in Georgia when I was probably about 8 years old. My Dad was into road racing, especially the Peachtree Road Race, and I would sometimes go to the local high school track to run with him (when I could get myself up for the 5 or 6 am departure time). I remember one early run with him where he was just so impressed after I completed the entire 4 mile run right with him. I must have been beaming that day.
In those Peachtree Jr races I'll remember running and seeing my parents along the course cheering me on. I'd always pick it up when I saw them and do my best to look serious and hide my huge grin, although I doubt that ever worked. Really, I still do the same thing today when I see my family during a race, only now I don't try to hide the gr
in. I ran probably 4 or 5 of those races before we moved away from the area; unfortunately the old t-shirts are probably lost for good by now.
Another race I'll always remember was a 5k at a local school; still in Georgia. It was probably one of my first 5k's and I think I was in 3rd grade at the time. There was a kids race, probably a mile long that went off before the 5k and I remember watching with pride as the other kids did the short race while I waited with my Dad to run the big one. Turns out I probably should have done the miler after all as I finished the race behind even the clean up vehicle picking up the cones on the course, a solid DFL if I ever saw one. In the end though I won the raffle prize of a new boys bike from a Roswell Bike shop sponsoring the race. I believe to this day that "raffle" was rigged for the poor kid in last place.
Now, to add to my list of memories from meaningful races, I have one of the opposite end of the spectrum. I have an actual placement in a strictly running race!
On Thanksgiving morning Aimee and I walked the mile over to the greenbelt youth center for the annual Greenbelt Rec Dept's Gobble Wobble 5k. First of all, being able to just roll out of bed and walk to the race course was just great! I could get used to that. The race had a record turnout (150 strong for the race/walk event!) and was kicked off with the wobbling warm up led by a sergeant of some kind, which I swear was really just some low key tae bo.
I started in the second row, just behind the turkey lead off man and a couple of 7 year olds ready to sprint for the hole shot. After a couple hundred yards I was settled into 2nd, right on the heels of the tall fit looking guy I'd labeled as the winner before the start of the race. I stuck around for a lap then he slowly pulled away finishing up in just over 19 minutes. I managed to hold onto second AND more importantly came in at 19:31 for my first sub-20 minute 5k! (Hopefully the measurement of the distance was true though I'm not necessarily holding my breath on that).
Thats the Turkey in the middle, me on the left and the top Male and Female runners and husband and wife pair of Paul and Cara on the right. Nice folks who live just down the street from Aimee and I. (Photo from the News Review blurb)
To top it all off I'm in the local Greenbelt News Review (blurb on page 5) this week, both in picture and in name! Looks like my star hasn't set just yet since my high school days of (local) "fame" (the picture of me watching helplessly as a star CB for a rival high school football team intercepted a pass in front of me being my last big "claim to fame"). Eh, something like that. At least I set a new PR and had a good time supporting a local event with Aimee.